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  • Family lore is by definition stories that are told from one generation to the next. Mostly unverifiable but totally believed by all. One such is the story of Pancho Villa and the Pickle Barrel.

    My great-great grandfather on my father’s side had a hacienda in Old Californio. At this writing I am unsure of his given name, possibly Emilio,but he was a Santa Cruz. One day he was entertaining Pancho Villa at his ranchero when the Federales arrived unannounced at the gate. Quickly my great-great grandmother took said bandito/revolutionary out the back way to one of the out-buildings and hid him inside a pickle barrel. Meanwhile Don Santa Cruz welcomed the Federales into the hacienda and after they made a short cursory search bid them “adios”. After they were gone my great-great grandmother brought Pancho Villa back to la sala and he finished his visit with Don Santa Cruz. This is my family’s brush with history.

    Their daughter, Amelia Santa Cruz was my great grandmother, or nana as I was brought up to think of her. She was alive at my birth and sent my mother a stuffed animal for me to have in my crib.

    The only other things in the family from that era are a silver bracelet, a silver cup, a silver serving tray and a still life painting done by nana. It hangs proudly in my brother’s house along with his own works.

    Oh, yeah. I almost forgot to tell you that some say that as a young man I bore an uncanny resemblance to Pancho Villa. The devil you say!
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